Fiio needs no introduction. It is one of the most renowned chi-fi brands if not the most. They started with DAPs and back in their initial years the X5 was holding fort for them. It was one of the best player available in the market. Then Fiio forayed into DAC/Amps and IEMs. Their F1 was the more popular one of the two which had the F3 in tao. Their grand entry into the IEM market was with the F5 in collaboration with DUNU but that gave them the launching platform. They came up with F9 but the F9 pro was the real deal. Since then they have been making some of the most intriguing IEMs with various technologies and driver setups. But their heart has always been with what they started with, Dynamic drivers.
Fiio’s recent portfolio have been loaded with DDs. The FD5 was an excellent re-entry which showed us what Fiio is capable with and now they have the more entry level Fiio FD3 and FD3 pro with a very similar setup and design. It’s 12mm DLC driver has a 1.5T magnetic flux. Priced at just $109 it is an excellent looking IEM which has a lot to offer with it’s vented design and filter technology.
It faces tough competition from ISN D10, whole lot of JVC IEMs and Campfire Honeydew and I will be comparing it with BQEYZ Summer and TRI i3 Pro.
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ACCESSORIES AND PACKAGE:
The all black package looks classy yet cool but us mostly made out of paper but I am not complaining. Afterall it’s a $109 IEM.
The old hard pelican like shell makes a comeback here and I like it more than the artificial leather case of the FD5. This is more functional and sturdier. There are 3 pair of grey red core tips for bass, 3 more pair of white red core tips for vocals, two pair of wide bore tips for balanced sound and two more pairs of foam tips in the box. In addition to that we get another pair of nozzle, a cleaning brush and a metal MMCX cable remover concludes the list of usable accessories.
BUILD AND ERGONOMICS:
FD5 is the inspiration for the FD3 but the body has different materials on it. It has an aluminium shell but doesn’t have the volcanic diffused field, instead it has a vent on the back of the off body MMCX plug. There is another vent on the inner side of the shell. It has 2.5D glass on the back which looks cool and kind of makes is more premium than the FD5.
Build quality of the earpieces is very good. They feels sturdy and robust. The interchangeable nozzle has very good depth inside the ear.
It’s angled barrel design gives a fairly comfortable feel inside the ear. It’s not very contoured or grippy but has good enough traction inside the ear. The light weight build makes these very stable and sturdier than most straight barrel IEMs.
HOW IS THE CABLE:
Fiio FD3 ships with a excellent looking cable, comparable to the Smokey Litz when it comes to quality and feel. I like this 4 core mono-crystalline copper cable housing a total of 120 wires with MMCX connectors. The cores have a layer of clear coat on them to protect it from minor scratches. It is not flashy or as premium looking as the DUNU Falcon Pro cable but this cable compliments these IEMs both aesthetically and sonically.
Build quality of this cable is very good. It is one of the more supple cables with a lower profile. It barely has any microphonics. Cable guides too are supple and comfortable. 3.5mm jack has some stress reliever but it is missing at the Y-splitter. There is a cable slider to keep things tidy.
PAIRING WITH SOURCES:
Being a single DD IEM with just 32ohm impedance, Fiio FD3 doesn’t need a lot of power or expensive DAC/amp to sound good. It is not picky and can be driven easily with entry-level DAPs and new generation mobile devices like Redmi Note 10 pro. It doesn’t lose its essence and basic sound quality irrespective of source used. The only loss is with a bit of dynamics, nearly 30% of stage and some micro details.
I do advise an entry level USB dongle for desirable performance it has very good potential and scale exceptionally with higher end DAC/amps like Burson Playmate 2 and Micro Signature but kind of unreasonable for an IEM at $109. Thanks to its flexibility FD3 is plenty good for commutes and portable use.
Sound quality, comparisons and conclusion in the next page.